Chesterfield Man’s Case Rare Exception in Child Support Says Lisa McDevitt, Fairfax Family Lawyer

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 3, 2014 – Virginia Social Services has mandated that Dwayne Parson, 34, must pay back child support even though he is not the child’s biological father.

Child support normally follows an equitable, straightforward formula. But simplicity is not always guaranteed. At least one Virginia man would make a strong case that belies an expectation for a cut-and-dried process as he begins to pay thousands of dollars in back payments for child support for a child he did not father.

Parson, of Chesterfield, signed a birth certificate for a child he believed to be his own. A later DNA test proved that Parson was not the biological father of the child. In February 2013, a judge ruled that Parson could meet his obligation under the law by paying $1.00 per month without interest.

The Social Services department, however, has now argued that a minimum payment entails $65 per month. As a result, hundreds of dollars have already been garnished from Parson’s paychecks. The Social Services department also claims that, despite DNA proof that Parson is not the biological parent of the child, he remained the legal father until the court ruling last year. Therefore, he allegedly owes thousands of dollars in back child support. And until a court rules otherwise, Parson must comply.

Paternity must be established before a claim for child support can proceed. And the Parson case notwithstanding, determination of paternity in Virginia usually proceeds in a fair and logical manner.

There are four principle ways in which fatherhood can be established in the commonwealth of Virginia. The parents marry or were already married on the child’s birthdate, a man confirms under oath that he is the child’s father, genetic testing, which can be court ordered, has been conducted, and/or a court order has been issued showing an adoption.

“Paternity is a pivotal matter in child support cases because it establishes legal fatherhood,” says Lisa McDevitt, a prominent family law attorney in Fairfax, Virginia. “And that legal determination remains a core and defining issue from marriage to separation to post-divorce.”

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